Finally learn truth vs. common fiction in golf

By Jon Levy

Our new series, ‘Golf Myths DEBUNKED,’ will *finally* put an end to those longstanding debates you and your buddies can’t settle when it comes to fact vs. fiction in the game of golf.

We will periodically shed light on five myths that have commonly, and incorrectly, become the standard for most of the golfing world today. So read on, get enlightened, and share with a golf buddy who could use this information!

Golf Myths DEBUNKED: Chapter 1

Golf Myths Debunked — No. 1:  
You CANNOT have the flag tended when playing from anywhere other than the putting surface

Truth:  Rule 17-1 of the USGA’s Rules of Golf states:

Before making a stroke from anywhere on the course, the player may have the flagstick attended, removed or held up to indicate the position of the hole.

So, you are allowed to have the flag tended when hitting a shot from off the green. Here’s Phil Mickelson famously doing so on the PGA Tour:

Golf Myths Debunked — No. 2:  The word “golf” actually originated as an acronym (Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden)

Golf Myths Debunked golf not an acronymTruth: Yes, folks, we’re getting into this one. If you’ve ever heard “golf” is an acronym standing for, “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden,” both and Snopes say this is NOT TRUE.

Each source instead cites it most likely came from the a medieval Dutch word, “kolf” or “kolve,” which means “club.” This was then passed on to the Scots, and later modernized as we know it today.

So, for any of you out there perviously apt to throw around this (sexist) comment: Sorry, but time to put it to bed once and for all.

Golf Myths Debunked — No. 3:  Technology has made the game MUCH easier in recent years

Truth: When the USGA starting tracking Handicap trends in 1990 (shortly before the boom of technology in golf), the average male Handicap came in at 16.3 and female at 29.7. On the PGA Tour, the median stroke average for the same year was 71.2, while the stroke average leader, Greg Norman, was at 69.1.

Over 25 years later, the average Handicaps for both males and females have dropped about two and three shots respectively, with the PGA Tour median average (2015) at 71.0 and stroke average leader, Jordan Spieth, at myths debunked scoring leaders 1990-2015

So, amid all of the incredible, “groundbreaking” technology gains in golf equipment, the game has become easier as these stats show. But not by much.

And, while there’s no denying a hybrid is easier to hit than those pea-sized, old-school 3-irons — and golf courses have admittedly increased in length because it’s easier to hit the ball farther — who’s to say technology advancements are the real cause of this slight improvement in scoring, anyway?

If anything, we could also point to the improved standard of golf instruction (ahem, GolfTEC), which allows for fact-based methods of improvement that weren’t available in 1990. To the point of technology, however, a golfer’s improvement has become much easier from its aid. So, while the game itself may have not become a lot easier, the path to increase skill certainly has.

Golf Myths Debunked — No. 4:  Tour pros average 15 GIR, always wedge it 10 feet and make all of their 10 footers

Truth: In 2015, Tour players averaged 11.7 Greens In Regulation per round, hit their wedge shots to an average of around 20 feet from 50 to 125 yards, and made about 40 percent of their putts from 10 feet.

So, yes, while these guys are good to say the least(!), the stats show just how tough the game of golf is.

The moral here: Don’t beat yourself up so much when you hit a bad shot, because golf is tough!

Golf Myths Debunked greens in regluation

Golf Myths Debunked — No. 5:  A hole-in-one is a one-in-a-million shot

Truth:  Actually, commonly stated odds are somewhere around 13,000-to-1. And, just 2500-to-1 with a PGA Tour player.

So, no, a hole-in-one is not a million-in-one shot. But that still doesn’t make it easier to dunk your 6-iron on the next time you roll up to a par-3.

Still … you’re saying there’s a (better) chance?! 

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  1. I really Iike the article about rules. It is amazing how may avid golfers don’t bother to read the rules and changes each year! Thanks for putting it out there .


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